Some Asean members want to kick Myanmar out; Marcos urges discussions with locals first
MANILA, Philippines — Calls have been made to remove Myanmar from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) after it failed to observe the five-point consensus laid out in 2021, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said.
Marcos, however, said in an interview with reporters on Sunday in Cambodia that his stand was to allow space for discussions first with locals, those in power in Myanmar and anyone who is interested to talk things out.
Myanmar’s fate in the Southeast Asian body were among the top points of discussions during 40th and the 41st Asean summit held in Cambodia, after the five-point consensus which calls for peaceful resolution of hostilities in the country were not complied with.
“The main — actually ang main worry ng marami sa mga (the main worry of most) leaders is Myanmar. That the Five-Point that they had agreed with ASEAN — that Myanmar had agreed with Asean, eh hindi nasusunod (was not observed). Anong gagawin natin? (What do we do about it?)” Marcos said.
“And that was a little contentious. Kasi may mga bansa, sabi nila, basta tanggalin na natin ang Myanmar sa Asean. O basta’t huwag nating imbitahin at all. Mayroon naman nagsasabi na hindi huwag lang ‘yung mga nasa taas, pero ‘yung sa ilalim kailangan pa rin natin kausapin ‘yan. Meron naman, tayo ‘yun. Sinabi ko, kausapin natin lahat,” he added.
(And that was a little contentious. Because there were countries who called for the immediate removal of Myanmar from the Asean. Or calls to stop inviting them at all. There are those who said that we should not only talk to the officials, but even the people within the country, some think that way — that is us. I said that we need to talk to everyone.)
Marcos explained there were different positions on whether Myanmar should be removed from the Asean and whether how much of an engagement or a leeway would be given. However, none of the member-states wanted to engage with the generals of the military junta, the President admitted.
“Kausapin mo pati ‘yung nasa position, pati ‘yung nasa nakaupo, pati ‘yung naka — kahit naman sino na interesado dapat kausapin natin o pag-usapin natin. So that was — all of us came down on different— slightly different positions along the entire spectrum of completely kicking out Myanmar from ASEAN and for engaging them fully,” he said.
(Talk to everyone including those in power, those with positions, anybody who is interested, we should talk to them or urge them to talk. So that was — all of us came down on different — slightly different positions along the entire spectrum of completely kicking Myanmar out from ASEAN and for engaging them fully.)
“Nobody wanted to engage the generals. Nobody wanted to engage the high-level officials. But there are certain — iba-ibang level of engagement ang kanilang ina-ano, ang kanilang sinasabi,” he added.
(But there are certain — different levels of engagement which they are talking about.)
Marcos during the duration of the Asean summit called on the enactment of the plan to end conflict in Myanmar, as he believes it would address the sufferings of people in the said country. He also used his campaign’s well-known catchphrase — unity — saying that it is important that Asean addresses centrality.
READ: Marcos Jr.: Enact Asean plan to end ‘protracted suffering’ in Myanmar
READ: Marcos makes unity cry at Asean summit: ‘It’s imperative we reassert Asean centrality’
Observers have noted that while Myanmar was at the center of discussions in the recently-concluded meet, only little progress is expected.
Myanmar failed to observe the five-point consensus signed by member-states during the Asean leaders meeting last April 2021 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Under the meeting, it was agreed upon that there would be immediate cessation of violence, with constructive dialogue taking place.
Asean also promised to facilitate a mission that would address the concern and provide humanitarian assistance to Myanmar. However, concerned groups like the Human Rights Watch urged Asean to revamp their five-point consensus as they accused the Myanmar junta of continuing to commit abuses.
READ: Southeast Asian nations say reach consensus on ending Myanmar crisis
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